It is a very controversial issue that has amazed many people. It is the paranormal! Paranormal is a general term that describes unusual events or phenomena that take place and are beyond scientific explanations. This term is now used to describe clairvoyance, extra-sensory perception, telekinesis and even haunting. It even describes UFOs and strange phenomena like Bermuda Triangle. Some people believe in psychic abilities while others totally object them. This opposing group probably thinks that studying parapsychology is a taboo to science and religion as well. Some paranormal abilities are common among people and some are rare to find. They include déjà vu, telekinesis, telepathy and precognition.
Déjà vu is a French word that means "already seen" and sometimes also called "paramnesia". It is an "uncanny feeling" of having already experienced or seen a certain event or a place accompanied by a sense of familiarity. You may have this feeling because this event is an "original experience" that took place before but was not encoded in memory because you were not paying attention to it in the first time. You may also get this feeling if you saw pictures or heard stories many years earlier or it may have been actually experienced in childhood. However, déjà vu sometimes starts by a neurochemical reaction in the brain that has nothing to do with any experience in the past. That is why one feels strange as he/she identifies this feeling with memory, even though it is completely new. We feel strange because we should not feel familiar with a "present perception". Déjà vu is also common between psychiatric patients and temporal lobe epileptics. Amazingly, some scientists think that this phenomenon happens due to fatigue while others think that it happens when the nervous system is unusually well-rested. It occurs more often between the ages of 15 and 25 and the youngest age of déjà vu reported is age 5. It seems to be very common as in formal studies 70% or more of the population report having experienced it at least once. According to Arthur Funkhouser (a Swiss scientist), there are three types of déjà vu: Déjà vecu, déjà senti and déjà visite. Even in literature, there is a reference to déjà vecu (already experienced or lived through) that wonderfully describes it from David Copperfield by Charles Dickens:
"We have all some experience of a feeling, that comes over us occasionally, of what we are saying and doing having been said and done before, in a remote time – of our having been surrounded, dim ages ago, by the same faces, objects, and circumstances – of our knowing perfectly what will be said next, as if we suddenly remember it!" (Chapter 39)
Déjà senti which means "already felt" is also well-described in an 1889 paper by Dr. John Hugh Lings Jackson for one of his patients who suffered from temporal lobe epilepsy:
"What is occupying the attention is what has occupied it before, and indeed has been familiar, but has been for a time forgotten, and now is recovered with a slight sense of satisfaction as if it had been sought for […] The recollection is always started by another person’s voice, or by my own verbalized thought, or by what I am reading and mentally verbalize; and I think that during the abnormal state I generally verbalize some such phrase of simple recognition as ‘Oh yes – I see’, ‘Of course – I remember’, &c., but a minute or two later I can recollect neither the words nor the verbalized thought which gave rise to the recollection. I only find strongly that they resemble what I have felt before under similar abnormal conditions."
Déjà visite is less common and it involves an uncanny knowledge of a new place as one may know his or her way around a new town or landscape although one knows that this should not be possible.
Telekinesis (or psychokinesis) is another controversial psychic ability and it is "the process of moving or otherwise affecting physical objects by the mind only, without making any physical contact". True telekinesis is one of the rarest among psychic abilities. Some people deny its presence and believe that moving or levitating objects are nothing but magical tricks while some others believe that it is a real ability. Some scientists think that every human being has this talent but it seems to be disappearing because it had not been used for a long time. However, other scientists think that there is a few numbers of persons who have telekinesis. This talent is thought to be one form of the use of magnetic energy. One of the most popular psychics is Uri Geller who is well-known for his metal-bending skill. There are also some reports of young ages having this gift, one of which is a 17-year-old boy who can move objects but cannot levitate them and then after this process he usually has a terrible headache!
ESP is a common expression in the psychic world and it stands for "Extra-Sensory Perception". It includes both precognition and telepathy. Precognition is the ability to know a future event intuitively and it is part of the general word "clairvoyance". Some skeptics deny the presence of this ability proving their claim by saying that human nature tend to remember the correct guesses that they make and forget the wrong ones. It may occur in the form of waking visions, auditory hallucinations, flashing thoughts entering the mind and the sense of "knowing". The majority of precognitive experiences happen within 48 hours and more often within 24 hours. However, in rare cases precognitive experience occur months and even years before the actual event happens. Severe emotional shocks and intimacy are thought to be major factors for precognition. Most of the cases are concerned with death, illness and disasters and 80 to 85% of the precognitive involve a spouse, a family member or a friend with whom there are close emotional ties. The rest of the cases involve strangers – usually victims in major disasters like plane crashes and earthquakes. Talking about this issue brings back to mind the amazing movie "Premonition" starring Sandra Bullock and it leads us to question the difference between precognition and premonition and even prophecy. Precognition is a general knowledge of a future event while premonition is the sense or feeling that something is going to happen. Moreover, all prophecy is precognition but not all precognition is prophecy. Precognition mostly includes precognitive dreams and peculiarly, however rarely, includes perception of one’s own death. Abraham Lincoln had a precognitive dream about his death six weeks before his assassination. But he had not dreamt of himself being shot; he saw people in his dream mourning over his own body. Based on personal experiences, I usually feel things before they happen but what I feel is not necessarily right in all cases. Sometimes these precognitive experiences are trivial, sometimes funny but sometimes serious and scary with experiences involving death. I believe God has given me this gift connected with certain events that He knows will be shocking and intolerable to me.
Telepathy also is a kind of ESP and it is a Greek word that means "distant feeling". It is a mind-to-mind communication without the use of extra tools such as language and gestures. It includes thought, feelings, sensations, ideas and mental images. There are three kinds of telepathy: interior telepathy that takes place between the individual’s soul and mind, telepathy between individuals, and telepathy between groups. This psychic ability deals with the force of love, the force of mind and the force of nous (common sense). Mostly, cases of telepathy happen in incidents of crises so one is aware of the danger the other person is subjected to from a distance. Such information can be received through different forms like thought fragments in dreams, visions, hallucinations, clairaudience (hearing voices or sounds), mental images and even in words that pop up into the mind. Telepathy seems to be related to one’s emotional state and this is true of both men and women. As case findings showed, most women are receivers and one possible explanation is that women rely more on their intuition and are more in touch with their feelings and emotions than men. Some scientists believe that each person has this gift and that the whole human race will benefit from it as in the next 500 years the human race will be telepathically responsive on mental levels. We may have experienced telepathy more than once with our loved ones. But what is even stranger is to know what a stranger is thinking of at the moment! But again my telepathic experiences are not always right. In many cases, my experience is about something serious but some other times they are funny. One of the funniest experiences happened years ago when I was playing "Hangman" with my friend at school. She was thinking of a movie to write, but before she could put her pencil on the paper and write anything, I told her the name of the movie! It is trivial but what was strange about it is that I did not think before saying the name of the movie! This is what I discovered to be "Claircognizance" which is the ability to know something without knowing how or why you know it.
People sometimes get scared or worried when they know that others are telepathic or had precognitive experiences. Some people might envy psychics for having these talents but I say that not everyone can tolerate to have those skills. Probably those people do not know that it is pretty annoying and awkward to know future events before they happen like disasters for example. That is why God has kept future unknown and vague to us and sometimes reveal some events to people who can use this ability in a good way.
We all have experienced at least one of those psychic abilities: déjà vu, telekinesis, precognition or telepathy. Realizing that you have one of those abilities, you should not get scared but rather try to use them for good. No one but you should decide how to use them. But don’t worry if people call you then a magician or a freak because, no matter what, the paranormal will always remain a point of controversy, debate and mystery!